Filed under word origins

The Origin of Rock and Roll

The Origin of Rock and Roll

Recent research suggests that a lot of the early popular songs originated in Scotland. They were the result of poor Scots being thrown off their land by the Highland and Island clearances, so were about longing for home and of going to a promised land, common themes in gospel and early American folk music. But … Continue reading

A Smithfield Bargain

I think this was from a newspaper in about 1815 One of those scenes which occasionally disgrace even Smithfield, took place there about 5 o’clock on Friday evening, namely – a man exposing his wife for sale. Hitherto we have only seen those moving in the lowest classes of society thus degrading themselves, but the … Continue reading

Bath Assembly Rooms

Bath Assembly Rooms

In Eighteenth century England , any town of any note had assembly rooms, for dinners and balls, but also music recitals, public meetings and lectures. Bath had two in competition with each other by mid century, but the fashions changed, people had parties with friends and they fell into decline. The surviving, upper rooms are … Continue reading

New/Old Word : Doll

New/Old Word : Doll

This seems to be a straightforward term, but only as we know it in the modern useage.  It is a children’s toy, specifically a female, or, in earlier times, it was a term of endearment. But in the past there has been some confusion, especially in England in the late 17th/early 18th century, when at … Continue reading

Spheres, Souls and Reality

Spheres, Souls and Reality

I have recently discovered the author Jorge Louis Borges; his Book of Imaginary Beasts, from which the following is drawn,  is a history of how people have explained the world through the ages, and makes fascinating reading, and shows us how un-modern science fiction really is. No matter how strange, it has probably been described … Continue reading

New Money for Old

New Money for Old

Seventeenth century England had lots of problems, but for a country of merchants, its deteriorating coinage dragged on for decades. The silver coins in circulation were becoming worn down and illegible, so easy to forge, but also there was widespread ‘clippiing’ wherby people would clip or shave the edges which could produce a considerable amount … Continue reading

Not Resorting to Hotwell Spa

Not Resorting to Hotwell Spa

From the late 17th century when Catherine of Braganza visited the Hotwell near Bristol, the spa became a popular destination for the affluent. Balls, outings and other entertainments were often advertised in local papers, as also were lists of recently arrived visitors. But what was less often mentioned was the real reason for the site’s … Continue reading

Preserved By Fire

Preserved By Fire

throughout human history there have been many attempts with varying success to devise writing systems. The earliest were not speech related, but recorded trade and legal transactions. But all the systems in use today are derived from the alphabet in the middle East,  or the Tibeto-Chinese pictograms. Both were invented aroudn 1700 BC, which is … Continue reading

English Evolution

English Evolution

English is different to all other languages because it is a very complex hybrid, hence so many people find it difficult or stupid. It is basically a Germanic tongue – something like 40% of the dictionary and 60% of what we speak is this simple building block language. Then the Vikings arrived or invaded, depending … Continue reading